Prince of Persia: Warrior Within Review (PC)
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is the follow-up to last yearís Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. The latter received a huge amount of critical acclaim, but didnít sell as well as the developers hoped. So this year, they decided to release a follow-up that is darker and ďmore matureĒ. In addition to that, they beefed up the fighting mechanic, and increased the overall length. Although not all these changes are for the better, it is nice to see developers taking chances with sequels and not necessarily going with a sure thing.
No longer a gentle-hearted youth, the prince is now a dark-hearted, devil may care warrior. His only goal: to go back in time to prevent the sands of time from being made, creating a time paradox that results in him never having messed with the sands, and thus the Dahaka would have no beef with him. Although itís hard to care for this badass, dark-hearted prince, you canít help wanting that he will somehow succeed in his quest. Literally every character you meet in the game will tell you that itís impossible to change your fate, but the prince doesnít care, he strives to achieve the impossible. The compelling story will keep you intrigued through the several twists and turns it takes.
The audio in the game is decent, especially all the sound effects of the swords clashing and slashing. The voice acting in the game isnít too bad or too good, just average. In times of a dramatic battle, hard rock music will burst in. Those who have played the original will be likely surprised at this, as the original was a light hearted game with excellent Arabian music. I guess this is all keeping with the bad boy theme, or something. It just feels out of place in a game that involves so many somewhat slow-paced puzzle elements. It also seems like they used the same 4 second loop for most of the game. Sometimes during boss battles, theyíll play a slight variation of it, but itís silly they didnít include more tracks or styles of music.
The twist this time around is that youíll explore the island youíre on in both the past and the present. Itís kind of like the light and dark side in Zelda: A Link to the Past. The difference between the two time periods isnít that significant, which makes it feel like the developers wanted to prolong the gameplay time without designing brand new levels. It does make a lot of sense within the context of the story, though. The problem with this system is the abandonment of the linear structure of last yearís game. What this means is that youíll be traveling through the same parts of the island multiple times in both time periods, and youíll be doing some of the puzzles 3 to 4 times. This really gets to be a bother near the end of the game.
This isnít necessarily a bad thing, because you have a lot of cool new moves. For example, you could run up a wall, do a flip off, and bring hell down on any enemy unfortunate enough to be below you. Or, you could propel yourself like a torpedo off a wall, sword first, of course. If you donít like using your environment, you could do a flip off an enemyís face, roll behind him, and throw him into a nearby crowd of enemies. Maybe you want to do a flip off his face, steal his weapon, and proceed to stab him in the chest? Choices are wonderful.
The gameplay isnít without its flaws though. Near the end of the game, you will be doing an insane amount of backtracking. Itís clear that they wanted to stretch at least 15 hours of gameplay out of a 10 hour game. Also, itís quite obvious that Ubisoft shipped the game out before it was ready. There are a slew of annoying bugs, including a bug that would spoil a major plot twist for you. In addition to that, there is a bug near the end of the game that will completely impede further progress. In fact, loading from an earlier save wonít even fix it. Literally 5 minutes from the end of the game, you may be subject to this annoying bug which will force you to restart the game from the beginning. For my review play-through of this game, I was unfortunate enough to encounter this bug. Ubisoft should definitely not have shipped a game with such a humongous flaw.
If you could put up with a somewhat unfinished product on Ubisoftís part, you will find an entertaining game, filled with fun puzzles, and intense battles. You may encounter the bug that I was unfortunate enough to encounter, or you may have an entertaining bug-free experience almost as good as last yearís Sands of Time. Itís kind of a gamble, so if that isnít good enough for you, donít pick this one up. If you loved Sands of Time, youíll probably like this sequel. Itís a shame it couldnít keep the ďwowĒ factor of its predecessor.
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within Gameplay Movie #1
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Prince of Persia: Warrior Within Movie Trailer #2
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